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We know our own stressful triggers: work deadlines, holidays with family, a move or new job — but do we know our pet’s? Studies show that cats also experience stress, and it may be happening more than we realize.

Our furry felines are sympathetic creatures, and they’re both in tune with our own emotions and sensitive to their surroundings. If you’re feeling stressed, chances are, your kitty’s on to you! While it is part of the human experience to come home from work stressed, or feel anxious before a trip, keep in mind that your pets will behave according to the energy you expel. It may be incentive to take a few deep breaths!

How can you tell if your cat is under stress? Look out for signs; disinterest in food, over-grooming, misuse of the litter box and signs of aggression may be indications of Shadow’s emotional wellbeing. Has there been a change of environment or routine? A new pet? Even something as simple as a new piece of furniture could be worrisome for your four-legged friend.

Luckily, there are ways to soothe your cat companion.

-First: read your cat. Every feline is different, and you know yours best. A more social cat may become stressed during the first few weeks of September, when family members return to school. A shy cat may become stressed or withdrawn if a new kitten is brought home.

-Increase play time and human interaction. A dynamic and environment that challenges your kitty is key!

-Provide your cat with a proper scratching post.

-Allow access to areas where your cat feels the safest (this includes closets, under beds, storage, etc)

-Keep your home calm with a plug-in pheromone spray (LINK)

-Try hiding little treats around the house in hard to find places. Your kitty is a forager by nature and will love this game!

Of course, every cat will experience stress at some point in their lives, and that’s normal. The most important thing is to make sure your cat feels in control of the situation. If you feel that your cat is under a significant amount of stress, a trip to the vet could help you figure out the root of the problem.

Curious to learn more about this topic? Read more here.